Monday 10 November 2008


Rembrandt's painting of the prophetess Anna reading a Bible expresses the profound attentiveness of a woman to God's plan. It is an image of woman which we have, largely, lost sight of in the complexity of this newly pagan age; an image of woman which reveals her dignity - silence, mystery, reverence, sensitivity, motherhood, age, attunement, yet a person who goes out to meet the Living Word. It is an image worthy of some contemplation. (But do look for a better reproduction to the one above!)
I have just read a second book about the unique vocation of woman. I posted earlier on the Eldredge's book "Captivating", but I offer another book for your consideration: "The Priesthood of the Heart" by Jo Croissant, St Pauls, 2007. The author is the wife of the founder of the French Eccelsial Movement "The Community of the Beatitudes". Her book, much of it a personal testimony, is deeply infused with Scripture and its Catholic interpretation. She speaks about the self-revelation of woman through being daughter, spouse and mother; she describes the depth of a woman's soul and the huge contribution which she is able to make to man. This author, like the co-authors of "Captivating" puts her finger upon the many experiences which our contemporary culture struggles with and opens them to their underlying truth. So for instance, she speaks about woman's capacity for trust and how this capacity is, at root, her way to God, and how her relationship with her own father and then her husband should be building bricks of her spirituality and how she is affected by them.
This is a very Catholic book, yet one which does not avoid the difficult experiences which women encounter today. For this reason it may be too intense for those who are seeking a more gentle approach to womanhood. Nonertheless, it is necessary that such books as this are written in our age in order to help direct a real contemplation of woman - something which the men and women of this age need urgently to rediscover.

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